New hospitals should not distract from other NHS needs say health bosses
Health / Sun 25th Jun 2023 at 08:07am
NEW hospitals in should not distract from other NHS needs in Hertfordshire and Essex, a health leader has warned reports the Local Democracy Reporter.
In May, the Government set out its £20billion plan for new hospital projects, with promises to rebuild units in Watford and Harlow by 2030.
But at a local health leaders’ meeting, Neil Tester, of Healthwatch Hertfordshire, urged his colleagues to “stay sighted” of issues which will not be fixed with new hospitals – such as crises in mental health.
Mr Tester spoke at a June 22 meeting of the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Partnership, which comprises county and district council representatives – who are responsible for issues such as social care and homelessness – and NHS chiefs.
He said: “We’re very very pleased to see those decisions finally being made, and a relative degree of certainty about the funding.
“Thinking about the longer-term agenda for this partnership, I think it would be important for us to stay sighted of some of the other capital needs that are never going to fall into the New Hospital Programme.
“I’m thinking particularly of some the pressures on capital spend in the mental health sector, which are going to be so key to some of the longer-term issues we are going to be thinking about.”
The number of “people in contact with mental health services” across Hertfordshire and West Essex was around 20 per cent higher in February 2023 than it was in the same month in 2020.
The Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Strategy, agreed late last year, features a “bigger picture” wishlist for the two counties to improve health.
Examples include support for parks and leisure centres, as well as an aim to “tackle unhealthy environments by delivering improved infrastructure for safe walking and cycling, and by providing easy access to reliable public transport”.
Jane Halpin, Integrated Care Service CEO, said: “Staff continue to be under a lot of pressure not helped in terms of the physical facilities in which people are working.
“It’s not just the two hospitals that we have the funding promise for that are in need of work.
“We have a range of other places that have capital requirements to make them much more suitable for staff and patients to have care in.
“It’s a tribute to the resilience and determination of staff that things are going as well as they are.”
Ms Halpin added: “There is a lot of pressure continuing throughout healthcare – whether those are mental health services, primary care, acute hospitals, demand remains high.
“Colleagues are working extremely hard to catch up on backlogs which is broadly going in the right direction but each episode of industrial action causes further interference with the running of routine services.”
Although funding has been promised for the two hospitals, which will replace existing Watford General and Princess Alexandra hospital buildings, the final figures have not yet been published.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Final funding allocations are confirmed when full business cases are signed off.”
Since when is a hospital a "Business Case" : since Mrs M. Thatcher begun a privatisation by stealth: a policy that's continued ever since. Run down the nhs and people have no alternative but to go private or go without. Likewise dentistry, housing, schools. Carol Vordermans' latest broadcast might well be more true than she knows.
Agree , nosradamus. I have to go private for dentist, phoned all around, not taking NHS people. I don't know what it's coming to.
It is only going to get worse and worse.lol. i laugh because i can see it coming.To many people.
Couldn't give a s*** I've got false teeth
I pressume the council has a proposed spend for the new hospital (which of course it will overspend) but we never hear of how much the current site which will be undoubtedly sold to developers, will be expected to sell for?